Committee (6th Day)

Part of Care Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour 6:15 pm, 16th July 2013

My Lords, I rise briefly to support the amendment of my noble friend Lady Pitkeathley. As someone who has spent six years in the local authority salt mines, I say that one should never underestimate the capacity of any local authority, when times are hard, to scratch around for things by which they can raise some money—I say this with affection. If there is a scintilla of doubt in this legislation about the ability to charge carers for services, we should remove it immediately. Otherwise I would be willing to bet a reasonable sum of money that when there is a financial crisis in some part of the country at some point in the future, a bright spark in a local authority will light upon the chargeability of carers for particular services. I am not sure whether my noble friend’s wording is the right way of doing this, but her intention is absolutely right. I hope that the Government will take this issue away and make sure that this particular piece of legislation is totally fireproof in terms of the ability of local authorities to charge carers for services.

I also support the amendment of my noble friend, Lord Lipsey. Evidence was given repeatedly to the Dilnot commission about the distressed state that many people were in when they made key decisions about their family’s circumstances. I suspect that he is on to something important that affects quite a lot of people.